Stuckness January 21, 2018


News not breaking, news reporting is broken

In order to hold an audience, the pharmaceutical company pimps pump money into the studios to make them happy. We the viewers sit there like birds on a wire waiting for the big story. All TV news outlets use the same words and same colors (mostly red) to announce a story that is just developing, and they repeat the announcement every hour until midnight—although the story has remained the same. Within a network, say NBC (and MSNBC), the host of a show will tell you what the previous host said and show you the same footage over and over again while repeating the tag: Breaking News.

The way out of this stuckness is to have a four or five level alert system. Like hurricane categories, or degree of difficulty in diving, or grades in school. We know what a 1 to 5 level hurricane means and what we should do about it. Movies and restaurants are rated on a 5-star basis, so we have some guidance about what to see and where to eat. News could be delivered in the same way. A story about a government official ‘who can’t recall’ anything before a congressional committee is not breaking news, not even a Level 1 story. The recent false alarm in Hawaii is at least a Level 4 news story. If you were in Hawaii it would be a Level 5. That’s not too much to ask or expect.

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